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Pay it forward: capturing hearts online

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A random acts of kindness campaign took wings after it went viral, its organiser said yesterday.

Leah Dean, the founder of Pay It Forward Bermuda, added that her Pay it Forward drive could have a higher profile in the future after the success of the latest campaign.

She said: “We've already had a couple of organisations reach out to us and say ‘hey, can we leverage your platform to help with either random acts of kindness or getting the message out?'

“We're happy to partner where it makes sense and we'll be looking at our plans as we debrief from this campaign.”

Ms Dean was speaking after her 25-day campaign of kindness ended on Pay it Forward Day on April 28.

The annual Pay It Forward Day, started in the United States, was set up to encourage people to perform acts of generosity towards strangers.

Ms Dean said that she was inspired to start Pay it Forward in Bermuda in 2016 after she was the subject of an act of kindness herself.

She added: “Having been the recipient of a random act of kindness while travelling to the United States back in 2016 I thought ‘this could be a really wonderful opportunity to bring something on a very large scale to Bermuda'.”

Ms Dean said: “We had a team of 50 volunteers and we performed over 2,500 random acts of kindness in one day, which I think was a pretty incredible result.

“We went into stores, coffee shops and gas stations and members of the volunteer team made their own gifts to give to the workers.”

Ms Dean added that the acts of kindness campaign became much smaller in subsequent years, but that she was inspired by social-media influencers to bring the event back on a large scale.

She added that the Covid-19 pandemic further convinced her that the campaign was necessary.

Ms Dean said: “We thought, during the most intense time of Covid, what better opportunity to encourage Bermuda and our supporters to spread random acts of kindness?”

Ms Dean added that organisers stretched the campaign over 25 days to allow people to be creative and spread safe random acts of kindness.

She explained that many chose to donate to charity, spend time with loved ones at a safe distance or send messages of support when the shelter-in- place regulations were in force.

Ms Dean added that participants were asked to share their good deeds on social media with the hashtag #payitforwardbermuda.

She said that, although it was difficult to track all the participants, more than 63,000 people viewed campaign content during the 25 days.

Ms Dean added: “The most popular video was the actual ‘thank you' to the essential workers.

“We had a very, very broad section of individuals of all areas of the community participate just to say thank you and that we appreciate all the hard work that they were doing.”

Ms Dean said that the response reflected how much Bermuda banded together in times of hardship.

She added: “I think in times of need and in times of crisis, people rise.”

Great response: Leah Dean, founder of Pay It Forward Bermuda. (File photograph)
Balloons made to advertise the 25-day Pay It Forward Bermuda campaign (Photograph supplied)
Memorabilia used to promote the first 25-day Pay It Forward Bermuda campaign (Photograph supplied)
One of the many posters shared over social media to promote the 25-day Pay It Forward Bermuda campaign (Photograph supplied)

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Published May 15, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated May 15, 2020 at 9:34 am)

Pay it forward: capturing hearts online

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